Chanan Mazal, A Song of Ascents, Original Illumination, 1997. Frame size 18 1/4" x 14 3/4", Illumination 12" x 8 1/2". Illuminated manuscript, handwritten book that has been decorated with gold or silver, brilliant colors, or elaborate designs or miniature pictures. Though various Islamic societies also practiced this art, Europe had the longest and probably the most highly developed tradition of illuminating manuscripts. "When the Lord restore the fortunes of Zion - we see it as in a dream - our mouths shall be filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy..... They who sow in tears shall reap in joy. Through he goes along weeping carrying the seed bag, he shall come back with songs of joy, carrying his sheaves." (Psalm 126) The 15 Psalms commencing with "A Song of Ascents" were sung by the Levites while ascending the Holy Temples stairs. In Hebrew, one always "goes up" to the Land of Israel, regardless of the location of origin. Therefore, immigrants are called Olim, literally, those who ascend. For several years Mazal searched for the right symbol to use for illuminating this Psalm. The text supplied the answer itself; ma'alot, stairs.